JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The grades are out for Florida's schools. State education officials and Gov. Ron DeSantis tout "monumental improvement," but gains in Northeast Florida districts are more modest.
Duval County remains a B district, although its scored highest grade ever in the Florida Department of Education measurement -- one percentage point shy of earning an A.
District school grades
St. Johns, Nassau and Clay counties remain A districts. Flagler County improved from a B to an A grade.
St. Johns County remains the top-rated school district in Florida.
Statewide, 1,172 schools received an A, a 31% increase over the 2017-18 school year.
Seven Northeast Florida schools that earned an A this year jumped at least two letter grades: Ortega Elementary, San Jose Prep and Venetia Elementary in Jacksonville; Osceola Elementary in St. Johns, St. Johns Classical Academy in Clay and Fort White High and Richardson Sixth Grade Academy in Columbia.
Two Duval County schools that got an F in 2018-19 saw significant jumps: Somerset Prep earned a B and Hyde Park Elementary earned a C.
Most improved schools in Northeast Florida
Seven schools in Northeast Florida earned an F from the Department of Education. While that's fewer than in previous years, still a concern for the districts, teachers, parents and students involved.
Breakdown of the grades
One of those, Lake Forest Elementary in Jacksonville, is already being closed. Carter Woodson Elementary, in Northwest Jacksonville, dropped from a C in 2016-17 to a D in 2017-18 to an F in the most recent school year.
Duval County also had 21 schools receive a D grade. Depending on their grades in other recent years, could trigger state oversight and possible closure.
Northwestern Middle School in Jacksonville earned its fourth D in a row last year. Duval County plans to close it at the end of the coming school year.
Grades from your child's school (app users, see the grades here)
"It is a great day for education in Florida and today’s announcement shows we are on a successful trajectory," DeSantis said. "We are resolute in our continued efforts to ensure that Florida students have the chance to receive a world-class education regardless of their circumstance. The ultimate gift we can give future generations is the ability to achieve their life’s ambitions. I appreciate our state’s hard-working educators who made it possible and applaud our students on a job well done."
Not everyone found the release of the new school grades reason to celebrate. While not taking away from the hard work of students, teachers and educational staff, the Florida Education Association called it a "destructive and misguided ranking system that penalizes schools in less-affluent communities."
The advocacy group said school grades are supposed to be a measure of success, but they really measure is family income. The group said that historically, schools graded A have, on average, just under half of their students living in poverty. For schools graded D or F, the poverty rate exceeds 90 percent.